What to Write in a Sympathy Card

So, you are writing a sympathy card but you have arrived at an impasse? There are so many things you want to say yet you are at a loss for words. We have all been there. Writing a Sympathy card is never an easy job. We try hard to say the right thing. We are worried about saying something wrong that could add to the distress of the deceased’s family. Sounds familiar? Well, you are not alone. This can happen to the best of us.

Although there is not much you can do to stop their grief, you can help them deal with it. This is where a sympathy card comes in. Here’s why: When you express your sympathy through a hand-written card or letter, it will provide comfort to someone in mourning that he or she is not alone. They will feel supported and loved in this unfortunate time. Now, we know that finding the right things to write in a sympathy card is a huge ordeal. This is where we come to help you out.

In this guide, we are going to list some heartfelt and compassionate sympathy card ideas. Having said that, remember that this is only to be used as a guideline. The most thoughtful words can only come from your heart. So if you want to find out what are the right things to write in a sympathy card, keep reading ahead.

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What Not to Write in A Sympathy Card?

While writing a sympathy card, the biggest concern for most of us is saying the wrong thing. You see: Because the person in mourning is already feeling highly emotional and distressed, there can be a huge pressure to steer clear of writing things that can add to their grief.

In my experience, you should write a sympathy card out of empathy rather than sympathy. When you put yourself in the shoes of the bereaved person, you can truly locate the exact things that they would like to hear. Write out of love and compassion and don’t be afraid of acknowledging the situation. In short, you should these rules below while writing a sympathy card:

  • Acknowledge the fact that the life of the bereaved person may never be the same.
  • Acknowledge the fact that the bereaved person is going through unspeakable emotional pain.
  • Acknowledge the fact the person who died will never come back.

But wait there’s more. While writing a sympathy card, steer clear of saying the following things:

1. Everything happens for a reason/It’s all a part of God’s plan.

Now: you might feel this is a reassuring thing to say to a bereaved person, but it is quite unkind. Simply put, you cannot ask a person in mourning to look at the bright side when they have just been hit with such a great tragedy.

2. Don’t worry, you will move on with your life/Life will go on/You will find someone again.

When you say to a person whose partner has passed away, it is a very painful thing to hear. Remember that even if what you say is the obvious truth, it still might be the very last thing a bereaved person wants to hear.

3. Time will heal all wounds/The pain would diminish with time.

Think about it: When you lose a loved one, your whole world comes crashing down. At that moment, the last thing you will want to hear someone say is ”You’ll feel better with time”. In other words, ”You’ll get over it”. While it may be true, still you have to give the bereaved person the time and space to heal their wounds.

4. How are you feeling?

It’s a no-brainer that asking questions to an obvious person is extremely frustrating. And if it is to a bereaved person, it is highly disrespectful as well. For everyone who has just lost a part of their lives, the answer to this question will be ”Not well”. However, the casualness of the questions takes them totally off guard. This forces them to keep up a pretense that they are okay.

5. I know how you feel.

Unless you have gone through the same thing, then you don’t know how it feels. While your intention might be only to reach out to the bereaved person, it can have the opposite effect. The statement might come off as rude and offensive. Instead say something along the lines of, ”I can’t imagine what you might be feeling right now, but know that I am here for you”

Things to Consider While Writing A Sympathy Card

Before we go into the details on what your sympathy card should contain, you should realize that it’s best to deliver the sympathy card as soon as possible. Consider sending it in the first week or so. However, if you pass that time, you should still send the sympathy card. Showing late sympathy is better than none at all.

The following are a few of the most important things that one should consider while writing a sympathy card.

1. Try and handwrite the sympathy card

In my experience, writing a sympathy card yourself instead of just typing it from a computer puts a very personal touch to it. In today’s world where everything is digitized in the form of emails and texts, a handwritten note will let you connect with the bereaved person on a personal level. Consider writing your note on a pretty stationary or a nice paper. On the other hand, if you are using a store-bought sympathy card, try and add a few words of your own on the card.

2. Try and write straight from your heart

Here’s the deal: When you are writing a sympathy card, your tone should be conversational and personal. It should make the bereaved person feel loved and supported. Don’t just copy fancy words or poems off the internet. Try to write from your heart. In other words, write as if you are speaking the words in person to someone in mourning. If you find yourself at a loss for words, keep reading and I will share a few of the common phrases that might inspire you.

3. Acknowledge the loss of the deceased and don’t refrain from taking the deceased’s name

Do not deny the fact that someone has died. In other words, do not beat around the bush. Maybe you don’t want to hurt the feelings of the bereaved person. But remember, the best thing will be for you to acknowledge death rather than denying it. Also, do not refer to the deceased as a third person. Use their name while writing the sympathy card. And the most important of all, do not use a euphemism for death. For instance, consider saying I am sorry that(Name of the deceased) passed away instead of saying I am sorry that(deceased’s name) died.

4. Express your sympathy wholeheartedly

Reach out to the bereaved person and make them know that they are loved and supported in this difficult time. Tell them you are sorry for this devastating loss. Although this phrase is sorry for your loss” might have become a cliche, it is still one of the best ways to let the bereaved person know that you care.

5. Remind the bereaved person about some of the best qualities of the deceased

Remind the bereaved person that their loss has touched the lives of others as well. Make them realize that the deceased had a positive impact on the lives of many around them. Share some of your favorite memories or qualities of the deceased.

6. Talk about some of your favorite memories of the deceased.

This will let you connect with the bereaved person on a more personal level. Making them feel that you share their grief will help them get through this distressing time much faster.

7. Acknowledge the fact that the bereaved person is going through a tough emotional phase.

People who have just lost a loved one can feel very isolated and distant from the surrounding. Denying that they have just lost someone can make them feel even more alone. Thus, acknowledge their pain and grief. Tell them that you know how immensely hard this must be for them. This will help the bereaved person feel less alone.

8. Let them know that you are there for them if they need anything

Letting the person know that you are available for them will make them feel helpless. Offer to help them in any way possible. Reminding the person that you care enough to help them out in these difficult times will make them feel less isolated.

9. Tell the bereaved person that you love them

Often at times, simply telling them that you love them is all it takes to help them get through this difficult time. Losing someone can be the toughest situation that a person can go through. And just reminding them that you love them will make them feel that they are not alone.

Sympathy Messages: Words To Write In A Sympathy Card

Sympathy Messages

Writing a sympathy card for the loss of one’s parent

  • My deepest condolences with you and your family. Your father was a great man and he will be remembered forever.
  • Although your father has passed away, he will never be truly gone. His comforting presence will stay in our hearts.
  • I have no idea of the pain that you must be going through right now. I know how attached you were to your mother. Please know that I am here for you during this difficult time.
  • Your mother was one of the most loving and genuine women I had the pleasure to meet. I will forever remember her comforting presence and the delicious meals that she cooked for us. I am truly sorry for this unfathomable loss.
  • Death is not the end. Nothing can take away the wonderful relationship that you shared with your father. He is with us in our hearts and prayers. Please know that we are all here for you and love you.
  • My heart goes out to you and your family during this devastating loss. Your father was truly a wonderful man and will be deeply missed. Let me know if you need any help. We are all here for you.
  • Your father didn’t tell us how to live our lives, but he lived that life and let us watch. It has been a great honor to have met and known such a great man. I can never forget his warm smile and incredible presence in our lives.
  • Your mother was someone who left a mark wherever she went. She impacted the lives of many around her, including me. Take comfort in the fact that she was loved dearly by so many around her. She will go on forever in our hearts.

Writing a sympathy card for the loss of one’s spouse

  • Nothing can come close to the love of a spouse. Please know that you are in my thoughts and I am here for you.
  • Even though you have just lost the closest person, holding tight to their memories will make them stay a permanent part of your life.
  • I cannot begin to imagine the pain you must be going through right now. Please know that you are not alone and I am here for you.
  • Nothing can fill the void which this devastating loss has brought in your life. My deepest condolences are with you and your family in this incredible time of sorrow.
  • The love that you had for your spouse cannot be taken away with their passing. Hold on to their memories and remember that they will stay in your heart forever.
  • I remember what a wonderful and warm person your wife was. My thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time. If you need anything, I am just one call away.
  • What an incredible love that you two shared. I know that no words can lessen your pain. Please know that I am here for you if you need anything.
  • I have not known two people who were more in love than you two. The bond that the two of you shared will last forever. Please don’t hesitate to call me if you need anything.

Writing a sympathy card for the loss of one’s child

  • I know that there aren’t enough words that can help lessen your pain right now. Please know that I am here for you.
  • (Name) was just a wonderful child. He/She was so full of love and light. My thoughts are with you and your family. Please let me know if you need anything. I am just one call away.
  • I am deeply sorry for your loss. Nobody should have to face the loss of a child. It is heartbreaking. (Name) was an incredible child and will be deeply missed by everyone.
  • I remember the day I saw (Name) singing at the church(Talk of the child’s accomplishment or achievement). She/He was so incredibly wonderful and sweet. My deepest condolences are with you and your family. Please let me know if you need anything.

Writing a sympathy card for the loss of one’s pet

  • To lose a friend is like losing your best friend. I cannot imagine that pain you must feel right now. Please know that I am here for you if you need anything.
  • May the beautiful memories of (Name) bring you joy in this incredibly sad time. My thoughts are with you.
  • Our pets never really leave us. They stay in our hearts and minds forever which we will cherish forever.
  • (Name) was an absolute joy to be around. She/He was such a warm and comforting being. Please know that his/her memory will last forever in our hearts.
  • I know that words fall short to describe the incredible sorrow you must feel. Take some comfort in the fact that (Name) will be deeply missed by all.

Writing a sympathy card for the loss of one’s colleague or a co-worker

  • (Name) was an absolute to work with. My deepest condolences are with you and your family.
  • (Name) had a way of brightening up everyone’s day. She/He used to bring a smile to the faces of everyone in the office.
  • (Name) was more than just a coworker to me. She/He was a wonderful friend to me. Please know that she/He will stay in our hearts forever.
  • I cannot imagine what you must feel right now. (Name) was an amazing person who made an impact on everyone around him/her. My thoughts are with you and your family.
  • Words fall short to express my sorrow at your devastating loss. Please know that I am here for you if you need someone to talk to.
  • Your son/daughter was truly an inspiration for all of us. Please know that he/she touched the lives of so many around them. Our thoughts are with you and your family.

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